A few days ago, we reported about a landmark case in Colorado that had the potential to set a precedent that could have huge implications for the cannabis industry across the US. In that lawsuit, a couple sued a marijuana grow facility for making the plaintiffs’ property “lose value” due to the smell coming from the indoor cultivation facility.
That case was the very first of its nature to reach a jury and the entire cannabis industry watched with bated breath to see what decision will be made once the hearings end and the jury retires to make its verdict.
The defendant had planned to use property rate valuations as proof that the claim was unfounded since the state kept collecting higher taxes from that neighbor’s property due to the property’s increase in value despite the presence of the indoor grow in the area.
The case was heard and the jury withdrew to consider the evidence and arrive at a decision. In less than half a day, the verdict was ready and the plaintiffs’ claim was dismissed.
It is unlikely that the couple will appeal the federal court’s decision in a higher court since they stand a minimal chance of succeeding after this decision.
Industry watchers and the legal fraternity have said that the Colorado decision may have poured water on any other individuals or groups that were planning to target cannabis companies using the anti-racketeering laws of the mafia era.
In fact, three other lawsuits of the same nature are still pending in Oregon, Massachusetts and California. It isn’t known how many other copycat lawsuits would have been filed if the events in Denver had gone against Parker Walton’s cannabis grow facility, but chances are high that opportunistic law firms would have egged on many property owners to file cases.
The jury’s verdict has therefore put a dampener on all those who were harboring thoughts of shifting their attack against the cannabis industry to another front.
However, the risk of lawsuits still remains since there is a mismatch between the laws in states where marijuana is legal and federal laws that regard cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance (no medical use but a high likelihood of being abused). It is also very expensive to defend against such lawsuits, and Walton may have ended up losing his business if the jury had ruled against him.
Other companies in the industry, such as Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTC: MCOA) and Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions (OTC: REFG) may be celebrating the verdict from Denver, but other threats to the industry still remain.
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